Hunters Hill Council has now lodged a Development Application DA20211184 for a Sports & Community Facility at Boronia Park. You may have received a flyer from the Boronia Park Action Group inviting you to have your say on this development within our heritage-listed parkland. Submissions close on Friday 17 September 2021 at 4pm and we encourage you to make your views known to Council at customerservice@
Council promotes this building as a ‘community facility’, although we know the Hunters Hill Rugby Club will have almost exclusive rights and access, at a nominal cost of $100 per annum! Despite this, ratepayers are expected to cover an annual maintenance bill in excess of $38,000.
The need for better facilities in Boronia Park, such as female change rooms, storage, etc is clear, but amenities can be easily and more sustainably provided by restoring and extending the existing heritage grandstand, as intended by the original $1M State Government grant. In fact, this site was identified in the 2015 Boronia Park Management Plan as being the most appropriate, reinforced in 2020 by Council’s independent consultant finding overwhelming support for the grandstand location, with 97 submissions in favour and only 6 opposed.
However the Plan adopted by Council, under pressure from the sporting lobby, instead locates a new 50 metre long, 8 metre high, two-storey facility between Ovals 1 & 2. This oversized structure will act as a wall between the two ovals, destroying views across Boronia Park to bushland and compromising the expansive sense of open space. It will require a lift to reach the viewing platform, adding to maintenance costs and energy use, and will be lit up until 11pm at night, disrupting nocturnal wildlife and local residents. The removal of 3 or 4 healthy mature eucalypts is indefensible and the casual acceptance of their loss reflects poorly on Council and is a further blow to the community.
It is evidence of fiscal imprudence that Council, as the development’s applicant, has not guaranteed that the funds required to construct this facility are yet in hand. There is also a well founded concern that, should the Rugby Club fall short of its fundraising target, Council and ratepayers will be under pressure to foot the bill even further. Please be sure to have your say at customerservice@
This plan is horrifying. We lived in that area for many years and enjoyed the expansive green space of Boronia Park. We are deeply shocked that the three mature eucalypts should go and that the Park will be lit up at night disturbing local residents and wild life. In this day and age surely remnant bushland should be sacred (it cannot be replaced) and what is left of wild life whose habitat has been invaded should also be given priority. Residents of Hunters Hill will have to foot increased rate bills and pay for this ugly and unwelcome building. The need for improved amenities and facilities can easily be accommodated by development of the grandstand.
Last week we learnt that the Hunters Hill Rugby Club had failed to interest its supporters in raising the extra $1.5 million in funds they had committed to find towards constructing their intrusive two-storey clubhouse between the ovals in the open green space of Boronia Park.
However it appears that, in an uncertain world, those promoting a sporting facility can be very certain of receiving generous amounts of public money from this state government. That’s often not the case for those valiantly rebuilding lives after environmental catastrophes, or the struggling music and arts sector and healthcare workers during Covid. The list goes on.
Yet our local member Mr Roberts has once again brought out the Big Cheque for the Rugby Club, this time for $1.3 million to top up the previous $1m given, which adds to the $500,000 from Sports Rorts via the now removed Trent Zimmerman.
If recent Federal election results confirm a community growing ever more frustrated about governments’ lack of integrity, accountability, equity and their addiction to vote-buying grant projects for favoured recipients, then the message to all politicians is … beware!